Partial Solarization of house:
If you want to make more impact, there are solutions you can use in your home. Eg. you can convert some or all of your lights/fans/television to run on Solar power. This way, you will never need to miss your favorite TV show due to power cuts.
Here is a simple way to calculate what it takes:
- Calculate the amount of usage in Watt hours. For example, if you are planning to use just one 20W CFL light for 4 hours, the total power consumption is: 20WX4hours = 80Wh
- Second important factor is the number of hours of sunlight. In most parts of India, we can comfortably take it as 6 hours per day. We have places, where you can get 10hours of sunshine per day too during summer. Right away, you got 40% cost advantage.
- The Solar panel required is typically: (power consumption / number of solar hours) / system efficiency. Remember, there will be leakages everywhere (battery, wires, converters) and a layer of dust on the panel can bring down the efficiency by 20%. So, it is safe to assume only 50% of the maximum rating. Now, for the simple system mentioned above (80Wh), we will need a panel of (80 / 6)/0.5 ~ 25W
- Typically, the cost of the system will be Rs.250 for every watt of panel. So, the simple system mentioned above (80Wh) will cost us around 25W X 250 = Rs.6,250.
Apart from Solar panels, the system will include, Solar charge controller(s), batteries, DC->AC inverter and of course, wiring and associated technician charges. Now, you can see for yourself, how much it will cost if you add more and more utilities: fans (typically 80W X 8hours), TV (240W X 6 hours), Refrigerator (50W X 24hours).
Why not UPS ?
Some people asked me this question: We get a UPS for Rs.15,000. Why should we spend Rs.50K to have the same solution? The answer is in my first post. But, I have a good analogy. UPS is like a water tank/sump, where you (most of the time unethically) store the limited water (in case of UPS, it is power) supplied by the government. Solar electricity is analogous to the (bore)well where you are generating power. Obviously a bore well costs more than a water tank. In fact, Solar power generation is lot more ‘ethical’ than having a bore well because in this case, we are capturing the energy that otherwise goes ‘wasted’ every minute.
Government is imposing power cuts because there is no enough power for every one all the time. That way, by using UPS, you are ‘stealing’ somebody else’s share of electricity. If everybody starts using UPS, nobody will have power. But, if everybody uses Solar or Wind energy, we are generating more power and the energy crisis will be resolved in a clean way.
Where to buy?
Tata BP solar is the fore-runner in taking solar technologies to common man. However, there are other small players who are providing similar services/devices for much lower prices. There are at least 10 of them in Bangalore.
But, the easiest way to buy is to do it online on www.indosolmart.com. I have helped these people in developing this site. The idea is to bring all the ‘good’ Solar based products and solutions to one place irrespective of their manufacturer/provider. For more information, you can call: +91-9945529195.
How Can we help further?
It is very easy to talk big, latest trends, government policies or next generation plans from Toyota. But, what we really need is a small action from more and more responsible individuals. I would recommend the following simple things most of us can do without really spending lot of time and money:
– Conserve electricity as much as you can. Go for LED lights wherever you can. If not suitable, at least use CFL lights.
– Think of going for Solar water heaters instead of conventional electrical geysers.
– When you are thinking of giving a next marriage gift, see if it is worth giving a solar product than some other fancy item that the receiver never uses.
– Gift a Solar fan to your parents/relatives/friends living in your native place
– See if you can identify a poor family or street side vendor whom you know well and gift him a ‘hawker light/lantern’. This is nobler than gifting clothes or food. There are many people in India who doesn’t have ‘enough’ light ☹. It is lot more than a piece of decoration for them.
– You can think of buying a solar product instead of that ‘another’ costly dress/other household gadget. Treat it as a ‘fashionable’ thing to have in your house. Boast about it with your friends and relatives. Let them be aware that we have to ‘earn’ the pure air that we all take for granted.
– Convert one light/fan at a time in your home to run on Solar Electricity.
– Spread the awareness in your circle and see if more people around you can follow these simple steps for a better world.
Individually, whatever we contribute is unimaginably trivial. But, together we can make a big difference ☺
This is the last post of the series on utilizing solar energy for our day to day life. Many thanks to Raghav for sharing all the insights.
Update from Raghav:
Thanks everybody for encouraging my posts. Thanks to Mohan for publishing these. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. On any specific product related questions, you can send a mail to email@example.com. I have arranged for good discounts for the people referring to Mohan’s blog (for that, don’t buy online, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope you will spread awareness among your circles to start choosing Solar products as gifts. Hoping to come back with another post 6-12 months down the line with more interesting products and solutions.